I referred in my visit to Leisure Games in London that the advice given to a customer wasn't handled as I would have like it.
I've been thinking it over since that visit, reviewing the advice given and de-personalising it from the individuals involved and I think I understand a bit more of what didn't work... The customer had already bought a rulebook for a game but didn't know what to do next. Rather than invalidating that first purchase the staff member tried to expand on it. Understandable but maybe the better option would have been to recommend a beginner's set.
Beginner sets for games are a must. This isn't just about RPGs, although if any format needed them most it would be RPGs. Why?
Well, RPGs carry a larger commitment of time from 1 player than the others and in many respects are harder to get into than other formats of the hobby. To reduce that "barrier of entry" the life of the new GM can be made so much easier through a good quality beginner set.
A good quality beginner's set isn't just for people new to the hobby it is also the perfect introduction to a game. It gives you everything you need to be able to play the game and leave you wanting more.
The best example of this that I've experienced is that Star Wars: Edge Of The Empire Beginner's Set.
There are other beginner sets out there for other games but these tend to be less common than ever before in the RPG market in particular.
Wargame manufacturers are particularly good at producing starter sets in particular 2 player starter sets and CCG companies have "intro packs" as largely standard items. Why is it then that the RPG publisher tends to not use the beginner set as the gateway to the hobby as much as the other formats?